Friday, December 30, 2011

Guilty Pleasures and the "Oh! Shiny!"

I saw this first on Facebook with Sue Peterson posting her blog (Long Lost Relatives) and then I went to the blog Susan's entry had originated from by Leah Kleylein (Random Notes) that she had read. So I thought I would do that too and then Sheri Fenley (The Educated Genealogist) posted her blog too! So here is mine, my other life or, the random "Oh shiny's!" in my life.

When I am not working on my family history, I...:

I work full time - not doing my genealogy (I confess my mind is on my family history work during this period of the day. I am a podcast junky, listening to genealogy, knitting, spinning, health, well all sorts of podcasts!).

I have just taken on a part-time job (I went to the retirement meeting at work, had heart failure)

I play Angry Birds sometimes.

I play Frontierville. (Yeah, I know.)

I play Castleville. (I know, I know!)

TV. Many years ago, when my daughter was a pre-schooler, my day was filled with the TV always on so one day we turned it off (I seriously dumped the ABC line up of soaps! 18 years ago!), she got 2 hours a day of TV, we got a couple hours at night and over time I just stopped altogether. Then I started to work at this job 6 years ago and listening to my co-workers talk about shows and joining the Survivor pool for three seasons without knowing what the show was about I slowly started watching TV again!!  
Currently I make sure I watch:

Biggest Loser


Ghost Hunter's

Ghost Hunter's International

Being Human

Antique's Road Show

Harry's Law - but I seem to miss it all of the time.

Aside from regular TV, movies, I love movies, period films most but I am hooked on the Transformers movies, do not ask me why, it is out of my usual genre appreciation.

Costuming!! If I could get my lazy butt in gear, Costuming would be my second passion after genealogy. I follow blogs of amateur costumers, and the contests like Realm of Venus Showcase. I love costume diary's, there are so many bloggers out there. I am in the SCA, fringe member, and am changing my persona from 1500's Turkish to 1500's Italian, I think. I just want to be Safiya of A Thousand Dresses. I currently have working class Italian ren garb in the works but am mentally preparing to do a complete ensemble… someday.

(Shhhhh. Secret thing: Roleplay. I roleplay on AOL, building a story with other people typing back at you is a lot of fun.)

Spinning. I love to spin. I have three spinning wheels, enough fiber for twenty years worth of spinning time and guess what… THREE DUSTY spinning wheels!

Knitting. I am not great at it but I do enjoy it so I knit. I always have a project in my work bag, lunch was always my knitting hour but then I got onto something else. This past week I have been knitting at lunch again and reminded how much I really do enjoy it. It's just too bad it takes me 6 months to do one pair of socks. I have enough yarn for a few years of knitting projects based on my speed at getting things not finished.

There is so much more.. I have too many likes and I think that really hurts me in being truly "expert" at anything. My concentration is always so thinned out over too many areas. Jane of all trades, Master of none.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Where I fit in, in a nut shell… and what is coming in 2012

This post has been rolling around in my mind for a while now and then the recent upswing of discussion of the shift in the Genealogy world with the advent of the internet and social media makes this post rolling around in my brain timely. I now wish I had gotten right on it at first, I might have been the trailblazer! A few things happened within the last few months which made me think about my place in this wide world of the social media collective.

I am a hobbyist when it comes to Genealogy. I will never be a super Genealogist or super blogger. I will never be famous or a leader in our vast environment of all levels of family historians. I will have my good months of research and I will have my months of not so much progress. I will never be a professional. My blog will never carry up to the minute news or teach people how to be good Genealogists, I am adequate at it, but it will reach out to those that just might be stuck on a family name we share and it will be a beacon to reach out to those that share my ancestry. Those are the things I will never be. Now the things that I am. I share the same passion as the rest of the genealogical community. I am passionate and love every minute that I am involved in some form of my quest to know my roots. My mind is 24/7 on this quest. Ask my family, friends and co-workers, haha. The collective energy of the genealogy community keeps me inspired and tackling problems in my family tree. I love to learn, I love to share and I learn so much from those people who are the super stars in our growing world. I don't have to be a mover and shaker and I appreciate when the big names are nice to me and realize I am there and part of our collective community and I try very hard not to take it personal when they are not. I am a webinar junky, podcast junky and I am broadening my horizon's and have registered for NGS 2012. I am very nervous about that, I have a shyness that can be crippling and going someplace without a close friend to cling on is really pushing me out of my comfort zone. Just saying. I am very excited about it though and I will be the one there trying to make one with the wall. There is me in a paragraph.

Aside from the online presence, I feel memberships in Societies are very important and a presence in them more so. In the last year I have made good on my resolution to get myself out more and involved. I have always wanted to do this but again shyness in big crowds makes not going places alone very easy. Well, I can say that I have pushed myself out and into these meetings, DAR and the Rochester Genealogical Society, and have enjoyed myself very much and really do like the physical community that is waiting for those who come out and join. I am also a member of the NC Genealogical Society since much of my ancestry is there and it is my way to help support that community. Tennessee is pending, I have sent in my form and that is another state with much of my ancestry.

And now on to Projects 2012 - -  
I have one personal genealogical project that has to do with me. Once I am done being mad about it, I will work on it.

DAR - I was pinned and swore my oath to the DAR in December after two years of being a member and not being involved. I found it to be a wonderful personal moment in my life. Wasted time, I so enjoy the meetings. I have a handful of possible Patriots to add, Reverend Robert Stockton, Edward Weatherly, Samuel Walker, Thomas Blakey and a couple more, oh and John Duncan, the big mystery man in my family tree. So 2012 will be a year I set a goal of 2 supplemental applications made.

Cattern Walker Cowden brick wall. I have always felt she was the mother of my James C Cowden and 99 percent of the trees on Ancestry have Nancy Crewse as his mother. My Ancestry tree did too because it is a tree that I import a lot of junk info into as clues so I don't forget about them. My personal RM5 tree on my pc has my actual information sourced and cited. If I can somehow prove Cattern was alive when James C Cowden was born and is his mother, that will open up Samuel Walker as a supplementary application.

Bannister Hensley - the mystery man.

Transcribing - I have a pile of deeds that need to be transcribed for three different families..  
Scanning - I have a lot of scanning to do. Photo's to scan and share of my Grandmothers side of the family. There are a lot of unidentified photo's and hopefully, someday, if I find cousins from Dundee, Scotland from my Fender clan, maybe they will be able to help me figure out the faces!

Blog more -- yeah, I say that every year...

And this is just the short list….





Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Stockton Climb into the DAR

Currently I am working on a few possible Revolutionary War ancestors but I am a VERY distractible which makes me laugh because every report card of mine in grade school said I had a hard time staying on task. I am a wanderer and so over time, especially the last ten years, I do cut myself some slack and follow my focus. I am more productive that way in a round about sort of way. It does frustrate me because a dozen different times I have told myself one family at a time, thorough, get everything, move on but….. Then the drift comes along again. It annoys me because I am a doer, I like to get things finished, I am a list maker and once I write it down on a list, I am obsessed until I can cross it off. As you can imagine with what I have said just in this paragraph, this can cause a lot of conflict and frustration in myself. As I age, this just seems to worsen. Ah well.

So I am back on this Stockton thing! Again. And I have made some very good progress. My Elizabeth Stockton who married Hugh Lawson Baldwin is the daughter of Robert Stockton Jr, son of Reverend Robert Stockton of Barren County, Kentucky, who was a Chaplain in the Revolutionary War. Now to prove that Elizabeth is the granddaughter of the Reverend. Robert Jr. died in 1815 at the age of 43 and so far I am not finding a lot of documentation on him so connecting Elizabeth to the Reverend is a series of hops over Robert Jr. Reverend Robert Stockton's will mentions Robert Jr as being deceased but does not mention his grandchildren. There is a lawsuit over a slave girl named Eliza after the death of Catherine Blakey Stockton (Reverend Robert Stockton's wife) which mentions Elizabeth as a granddaughter. I have ordered that from the Kentucky State Archives and I am waiting for that. I did however order the marriage bond for the first marriage of Elizabeth to William C Wilson and there are three names to link Elizabeth to the Reverend Robert Stockton. I do wonder why he was not involved in this transaction.

The document is written by Nancy Blakey Stockton, who is the widow of Robert Stockton Jr. , giving permission for William C Wilson to place bond for Elizabeth's hand in marriage with her signature. There are two signatures as witness, one is Catherine B. Stockton and Joseph B Stockton. Joseph is clearly defined in Reverend Robert Stockton's will as his son so Elizabeth's mother, grandmother and uncle all have their hand in approving this marriage. With that will I think that is sound evidence that this is my ancestry line and will be making my supplementary application for Reverend Robert Stockton in the DAR.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reality of a Dream ~ The Loss of a Mother

I had a dream. I had dreams of falling off bridges over and over again. The one thing that terrifies me the most, bridges, came to me in a night long of nightmares and no matter how many times I woke up I would go back to sleep starting up where I left off. Falling and falling… falling. It was an endless cycle that night and when I woke up it was Sunday morning and I had a horrible headache. I think it was the night she died, this is what I believe. Was that my fear of losing her? Was it that there had not been the time to tell her all of the things I needed to tell her? Things should not have been left between us as they were. Both of us are to blame in this. Were the nightmares her fear of leaving? Was she not ready? In my heart of hearts, I am not sure she is at peace. I have seen a peaceful death in my daughter's father, Kevin. I have asked Kevin to help her if she needs it. When we viewed her at the funeral home all I could see was my Grandmother and I was so surprised. I had never really thought my mother looked like her mother but there it was much of Elizabeth Fender Duncan there in her daughter.

I have lost my mother too early. She was found August 30, 2011 and it seems as though she went swiftly. I am grateful and thankful that she went as she did and not suffering for weeks, months or years. She was very lucky to be given a quick out. I hope I am as lucky when my time comes. I couldn't have stood to watch her suffer and I never felt she was fully content in this world. In some ways I know she is happier. She has been so unhappy since my step father died. A local psychic took one look at me and my mother about 20 odd years ago… or maybe 30. She said I had an old soul and I was my mother's soul's teacher and here to bring her through this life. I am not sure how I feel about these things but I am not sure I did too swift of a job here either.  
It was never easy being my mother's daughter. She and I are so much alike in many ways but there is a lifetime of head butting. She was a difficult woman but I loved her with every ounce of my being. I marched to my own drum from a very young age and she liked everything around her to be as she liked it. So I fought the control as most children did and do.  
I have lost a parent, my mother, and it is turning out to be a hard thing to reconcile. We all made mistakes, we all could have done something different. What I do know is it gives me a view of where my energies need to go. My family unit is strong but it will be made stronger and there are things I have to do and say to my children so that they know where they fit into my life.

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of humor, fun and good times in the long past years. In fact the funeral director was very patient with my sister and I as we let our senses of humor get the better of us while making arrangements.

The news came on my birthday… this birthday thing is an interesting thing.. Carrie Baldwin (My great-great grandmother) lying in her dying bed asking the date until March 24 hit, and then she died, in peace. Her husband's birthday and death date were March 24.. That was my mother's birth date too. She did not die on my birthday but that will be what he death certificate reads.

And a note to the Genealogists, I thought I was being such a dweeb when the funeral director was going over the information for the death certificate and obituary notice. I kept interjecting with information saying I wanted it clear for those looking at this information in 100 years. He was nice, tolerant but then toward the end he added something else to the obit and got this little grin on his face and said, "for the future researchers". I had to laugh and it turns out he is married to the Town Historian so he knows! It was odd at that moment all I could think of was the various webinars I have sat in on hearing, "the facts of the death certificate is only as good as the informants knowledge". I am happy to report that a future genealogist will get accurate information from these two sources.

Rest in peace, Mom. I love you.
JoAnne Duncan Statt
March 24, 1940 - August 30, 2011

Elizabeth Fender Duncan, JoAnne Duncan Stevens Statt & Sharon Stevens Lighthouse

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later ~ September 11, 2001

I am so enthralled with the history of my ancestors that many times I forget that I will be part of history some day. I wrote about this before in a post about having seen the Wall between West and East Germany and now it is gone. This is for my future generations who might wonder what it was like back in the olden days of 2001.

9/11 (September 11, 2001) will forever be a historic marker on the pride and resilience of Americans. I wonder if the Terrorists responsible counted on America standing strong and collectively circling the wagons to take care of its own. There was a rash of military enlistments after this unspeakable act of cowardess, people became Hero's in an instant and everyone that day was an American, not just the neighbor you really didn't like. Did the Terrorists know at the time that what they did was strengthen a country and each and every family that lives under America's glorious flag? There is something that happens to humans when we are put on the defensive, we are protective and we will take care of business. Anger, pettiness and cruelty is put aside as tragedy is a quick reminder of all of the things we love or admire comes front and center for us to clearly see and how fragile they are. For a while we could forget animosity and hold hands while we collectively struggled through the pain of trying to understand this act of violence.

For me it was a normal work day. I worked at a small family owned business and one of the engineers came in to our office with the oddest look on his face and said he couldn't believe it but a jet had crashed into one of the buildings in NYC. We looked at him with disbelief and went to the television in the meeting room to turn on CNN and couldn't believe what we were seeing. In the meantime it was time for me to go to the post office so I did that and as I came out and sat in my car the radio said the second plane had crashed into the other Tower. What??! My apartment was across the street so I went there to turn on the news thinking I had misheard what was being said and there, just in time, I saw the footage of the second airliner making its final journey. Then came the news it was possibly a terrorist attack. Stunned, being a female, that maternal instinct of wanting nothing but my children with me and right now kicked in, I made myself drive back to the office where we sat watching a tv as reports came in about the plane in Pennsylvania and the brave passengers making sure more didn't die. There are moments in a life that you just do not forget. Ever. This is a moment for me. I will never forget the very real visual of the news footage. I will never forget the feeling of my heart sinking and my gut twisting. I will never forget that urge to collect my children and protect them. I will never forget the anguish I felt for the victims as the death toll alarmingly rose. I will never forget the looks on the faces of those I worked with as we watched helplessly with tears staining our cheeks in stunned silence. I will never forget how I wished I had been there to help; even if it was handing out a cup of water. I will never forget the stories of people coming together in NYC to help each other no matter what culture or class they were. I will never forget the admiration I hold for the few people I know who made their way to the tragic site risking their own life to help; it's what they do. I will never forget all the people who died that I did not know and the few I did know but not face to face but an online community I interact in. Still, they were special and their absence is still felt 10 years later. I will never forget the kindness of my boss and the look in his eyes when he told his two female employees to go home to our children. You never saw two women move so fast. I will never forget the fear in my 11 year old daughters eyes and her being afraid to go back to school. What if a plane drove into her school, she asked. For days she was afraid to leave me, she said she didn't want me to go away. Could I assure her nothing would happen to us here in a place you wouldn't think of as a target? It stayed with her quite a while, her school art work depicted planes and buildings.  
I am extremely proud of my American Heritage. I come from a line of generations that have fought for this country since the American Revolution. This is not the first time American's stood strong to protect American soil and 9/11 will not be the last. 9/11 gave us a glimmer of what it was like to be our ancestors of generations past from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the first battle of the Civil War and further still to the first battle of the Revolutionary War. 9/11 is a bit more personal by the mode in which our enemies chose to attack us going after innocent and helpless civilians. Every generation has that kick in the pants reminder about who and what we are.

Today I am thankful for those that saw us through one of our darkest hours with courage and selflessness. Policeman, fireman, military and every citizen who reached out a hand, I thank you. I thank you all for reminding us all what it is to be an American and in general, a decent human being. Thank you for giving up your own lives to those who were in need and terrified beyond anything comprehendible. A string of pretty words can not possibly measure the actual feelings or do the moment justice. To our teachers, thank you for helping our children through this. This post does not say enough.

God Bless America.

I will never forget.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And a big… AHAAAA!

I knew it.. Knew it… K.N.E.W. I.T.!! Yes, I knew it! <---- this is a genealogical happy dance.

I have a lot of blog space dedicated to William F. Duncan and his father, George W. Duncan. William filled out that glorious Tennessee Civil War Questionnaire that gave a lot of information and clues to follow. But there is one big.. Huge! Gaping! bit of information he did not put on that questionnaire…. Ready? His Confederate service. I thought it strange his father joined the Confederate Army in 1862 and William joined the Union Army in May of 1864 at the age of 21. So then I thought maybe he did something else those two years but my mind was constantly brought back to that two years difference in their service. So the other night I was checking out what Footnote had by way of War of 1812 records as I might have War of 1812 Veterans. I didn't have any luck, that collection is in its infancy yet so something drew me back to the Civil War record section. It might have been me feeling cocky, I had just found a census record I had been looking for what seems forever. Spelling was off on the surname and a County I would not have looked for them in! Who knew. George W. Duncan and his family were very transient. Something made me take a stab at Confederate records and look for William and I have to say that even if I knew I was looking for him I was still very surprised to find him. The two years that puzzled me makes sense. There are 8 pages to this compiled record of Company Muster Rolls. There won't be a pension record since he defected I have his Union service documentation so will now have to figure out if there is another service file with more information. I am not very good finding records like these, NARA boggles my mind completely. I will be going through the State of NC Archives online catalog and hoping I can find something there. I struck gold there by accident once before over this family!

I am a dreamer… I want to know the why's. Dates of battles can be interesting, kind of, I love history but its about the people. What were they thinking, what did this split do to he and his father and how did it affect the rest of their family. Did William keep in touch with his mother after the war was over? His father died a month after he enlisted in the Union Army, they were both in Tennessee, did he know? So many questions that I will probably never have the answers to. To find even the smallest bit of information to give a better understanding to this would be so exciting.

The last Muster Roll for William Franklin Duncan in the Confederate Army:


Monday, April 18, 2011

A Tale of Two Duncan's and Toss In A Baldwin Too.

I find myself sitting at my desk with three of my ancestor's folders in front of me and trying to put the pieces together. I have to admit that for the first half of my life I was hooked on European history and could care less about American history. I liked it; it was okay but European, the Tudor period, and the intrigue! And sadly, I do know more about Medieval England than I do the Colonies and the States. Or that "was" the case. At the time I didn't know my connections to the War and too, I remember being able to quote that I had ancestors in the Civil War but I still had no investment in it even if I was proud of this fact. Now the investment is there. And maybe at the time, the Civil War, to me, was too recent of history. Until I started to sink into the thrilling world of family genealogist that is. Now, I have the investment and over the past five years I have had a gaining curiosity about the history of the States. This is solely because of my ancestry. I would never have known a thing about Manakin, Virginia, had I not found I am a descendent of William Witt. He is on the Huguenot Society webpage as unproven as a first settler there. I have always been interested in the Revolutionary War but politics, I have to say, bore me to death and that is always a big part of a War. I never tested well in my History classes. Dates, names and places, eh, okay, they are important but I always wanted to know about the people, not just the famous but Joe Smith that no one knew. My thirst for knowledge these days is unquenched. And it is broadening. Two years ago finding the Unit my ancestor in was enough, now I want to learn about that Unit. And, a tiny confession here, I missed the first part of Geneabloggers Blog Talk Radio this past Friday evening so I was listening to the podcast of it today at work and I think I might have gone a little fan girl crazy listening to Angela Walton-Raji. She has such enthusiasm in her voice and her knowledge bank is amazing, when she talks about her specialty topics she promotes that enthusiasm and I will say that sitting at my desk was very hard to do, I wanted to get right home and dive into some research. Thank you, Angela, and I look forward to hearing more of your talks.

Also, yesterday, I sat in on Michael Hait's webinar about Researching Your Civil Was Ancestor's and he mentioned a couple scenarios' I might have. One, an ancestor that may have fought for both army's and two, Jane Edwards Duncan was on the 1890 Veteran's Schedule Census and her deceased husband, George Washington Duncan was a Confederate Soldier. In this webinar it was mentioned that usually this Schedule was mainly listing Union and on some occasions Confederate's were found on this Schedule. In this case, lucky me!

So now I am revisiting these three men to take another more educated look at them.

So, these folders. I have a father and son: George Washington Duncan (father) and William Franklin Duncan (son). And then there is Hugh Wilson Baldwin. George and William were born in North Carolina. The family moved to Tennessee (Washington County in 1860) and it looks like William stayed in Tennessee when the family went back to North Carolina. William was 18 on the 1860 Census in Washington County, Tennessee, and Hugh Wilson Baldwin lived in Tennessee (Bradley County), I am unsure yet where he was born.  
So let's start with George and William. In the Civil War Questionnaire that I have for William, he stated George had fought in the Mexican War. I haven't started to research that yet but he said nothing about the Civil War which surprises me. Then comes the confusion about George. I overlooked his service several times because the age of George Duncan was 29 and he couldn't be that young. But then milling through the records at Footnote, I came across his service record and sure enough it was my George Washington Duncan as that file was holding the documentation of his wife applying for his pension. George died in the war of illness in Knoxville, Tennessee. I have yet to find out where he is buried. So either a clerical error was made in his age or that was what he told them. He would have been approximately 39 when he mustered in. The next thing.. George fought for the Confederate Army 29th North Carolina Regiment and William fought for the Union Army 4th Regiment Tennessee Calvary. I am left thinking about these two men and what kind of relationship they might have had. They were both in Washington County Tennessee when the 1860 US Census was taken. What made George go back to North Carolina and muster in? He ended up fighting and dying in Tennessee. And what made William decided to be a Federal serviceman? His Civil War Questionnaire gave no clues to either his relationship with his father or the choices he made. The only thing I see is that he did not mention George being in the Civil War.

Then I have Hugh Wilson Baldwin.. My man of two armies. Maybe. I am not yet convinced. First there is the Confederate service record in Co. A, 62nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Rowan's Regiment). He was 19 and enrolled in Sweet Water Tennessee, Bradley County. In this he became a prisoner of war at the Battle of Vicksburg and signed a document stating he would not take up arms against the United States of America again. This is dated July 8th, 1863. I have his pension file and it states he enrolled at age 23 the 3rd day of February, 1864 at Charleston, in Co. I 10th regiment of Tennessee Calvary Volunteers. The ages have me a bit hung up and there is no mention of his Confederate service in this file but this file is full of information given by his wife Deborah Louise Cowden Duncan and his friends in affidavits about his failing health once home after the war was over. He died when he was 40. Only one thing will prove any of this for me and that would be finding his signature. I have his signature on the Vicksburg Prisoner of War document. He was already deceased by the time this Pension application was started so I don't have his signature there. I found some documentation on Footnote but no signature there either. So that will be a project finding some other legal document he would have signed.

And then a funny coincidence. See the Captain's signature on Hugh's Prisoner of War document below? I about fell off my chair at first thinking my William Duncan signed the same document that Hugh W. did. Wouldn't that be something!? This William Duncan was of an Illinois unit and my William Duncan signs a very bold "William F. Duncan" on every document I have found with his signature. It is always a full signature. That would have been a great family story because of the future. William Franklin Duncan's son, David Washington Duncan, married Hugh Wilson Baldwin's daughter, Carrie Anne Baldwin.



Thursday, April 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 9: Sounds

Do you know that sound? Listen. You hear fingers dipping into a bowl of cellophane wrapped candies to take one. Like peppermints or mixed hard candies. Listen again, do you hear it now? That distinctive sound of the wrappings rubbing against each other and crinkling? Whenever I hear that sound, say if a candy dish is out at work, the first thing that comes into my mind is wondering if that is Grandma Willie in the candy dish. Then I smile. She was the sweetest woman. She was my Grandmother's step Mother and my Grandmother took care of her until she died. She was the second wife of Edward Alexander Cummings Fender and she worked with my Great-Grandfather at Tasty Bread Company in Akron Ohio. After my Great-Grandmother passed away, he married Willie. She is Willie Clay Moore Fender of Tennessee. I am not sure what brought her to Ohio. She was almost completely blind by her old age I remember. She had to hold her phone book up to her nose to read it and it took her a while to decipher. She always smiled, she always wore an apron and even though she couldn't see, my Great-Grandfathers picture never left her bedside table.

Summer traffic. My Grandmother lived on West Exchange Street in Akron, Ohio. It was a three story house with an apartment on each level and I would seriously love a place like that today. It was a big apartment. The front section of the house was the living room with double doors that opened to a front porch that was the entire width of the house. My sister and I played out there countless hours. The next section back was a formal dining room with bay windows along one wall with a window seat and the length of it was covered with potted plants. Through a swinging door on the left side of the dining room you came into the dinette "room". The inside wall of this room was glass door cabinets were all the china and serving dishes were. And, my grandmothers soft boiled egg cups. Something I still have today and cherish. Through that room then you stepped into the kitchen. On the right hand side of the dining room was the doorway to the hall that went to the back of the house on the right side. Down this hall were two bedrooms and a bathroom in between. The hallway had a huge linen closet. And old wood trim. Delicious! It smelled like old wood, you know that old house smell that I am talking about?  Sometimes when the traffic is busy like it was on West Exchange Street, i will hear a horn blow or some traffic sound that triggers my memory and brings me back to this place.  Every time I go back, it seems to be back into my Grandmother's world.


52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 3: Cars

I didn't get my license until I was 19. I was a very young wife. Married at 16, living in Germany as an Army wife by 17 so I never did get my license before I went overseas. One of the Army wives that I made friends with taught me how to drive a stick shift Volkswagen station wagon while I was there. I am so glad we did not get caught! I remember one day I let the car get a little out of control, then got nervous and we went driving through this small German town and many buildings are right on the street in Europe. It went into a curve and we both screamed, I was going a tiny bit too fast compared to the driving space I had. I managed to slow down and do clutch/gear shifting without hitting a building or pedestrian!! Needless to say I pulled over when we came out of village and asked Ruth to drive again. She gratefully took the drivers seat. I can laugh about it now and we probably laughed about it then.

When I got stateside again. I took my drivers test and my first car was a used Plymouth Volare. It was in perfect condition and it had all the bells and whistles. Pin stripping, maroon velour seats, electric everything. This was in 1979. The car was hawt. The day I got my drivers license in the mail I finally got to drive my car! That solo drive I still remember to this day, over 30 years later. I felt like a big shot, I felt so cool and I felt so free! I was so excited but had nowhere to go, so I went to the store to buy milk I didn't need, haha. Anything to be Queen of the road for 15 minutes!

And a silly story about cars. One that has come up in family laugh fests for a great many years. My parents were members of the Porsche Club of America when I was a child. There were races year round, places to go, big gatherings. I remember we went to Boston for one Club event when I was about 10 years old. This race was before that and was local, at Watkins Glen here in Western NY. My mother handed over the camera to me with a full roll of film and told me to take picture of cars. So off my sister and I went. Did we take pictures of the cars on the track? No. The shiny Porsche's being shown off? Nope. So time passes, my mother picks up this set of pictures and we get home and I am all excited for her to see my work. She starts looking through the pictures and the look on her face was classic and I mean classic! Yes, in my excitement of being a budding "non" photographer I took pictures of the cars in the parking lot. Station wagons, and the old family cars of the day. Not one spiffy race car type. She looked at me and at least was kind. She told me I did a great job but maybe next time I could get a few pictures of the race cars. I expect she still has that set of pictures somewhere. I will have to go through them sometime.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 12: Movies

Period History movies are me.  Good or bad, I love them.  Braveheart, my favorite.  Rob Roy, another favorite.  Both of those movies I went to the theater to see over and over again just so I could see Scotland on the big screen.  To this day I still watch them often.  Rob Roy is my go to "put in DVR, lay in bed and fall asleep 10 minutes later" movie.  Dangerous Beauty, Elizabeth, Elizabeth the Golden Age and The Other Boleyn Girl; even Somersby and it wasn't a great movie!  Patriot is another one!  I can go on and on.  

Anything that takes me back... love 'em.    The shocker of all.  Transformers.  I know!  Insane, right?  I didn't even want to see it but I went with my friend because he wanted to go see it and I remember I had a migraine and when the fighter plane went sideways between buildings of the City I thought for sure I would be sick right there.  But when we walked out of that movie, I had a new favorite movie and I have no idea why!!  I used to vaccuum up Transformer pieces when my son was a child.  I had no bond with Transformers other than the damage of my foot when I stepped on pieces.  It is not the greatest movie ever but it is on my top 5 list.  Sad, isn't it?  Haha.

I do miss Drive-In theaters.  They are gone from my area and I think they were one of the best things going.  It is a shame how some things fade out of style then disappear. A summer night at the drive in was a great place to be.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 7: Toys

I am of the Barbie Generation. My daughter had the better Barbie stuff when campers and houses came along. For us it was shiny vinyl black "closet" cases. I have mentioned this memory before but my Grandmother, Elizabeth Fender Duncan, totally rocked as a Grandmother and would indulge us, and insist, that we put on a Barbie fashion show for her. At Christmas Santa would bring us Barbie clothes. She made a few things for us and knit a few things for us and religiously on our trips to Ohio there would be a fashion show put on for the family to show off all the new clothing our Barbie's and Skippers had. My sister and I would be so excited and my Grandmother would have us describe the clothing and enunciate. She was a stickler for proper speech and would encourage us to be descriptive in our presentation of each outfit. She made it fun and it helped me in my College writing down the line. I look at a sentence and wonder if I have described enough. She would applaud and expect us to take our bows for our performance. I love that woman with all of my heart. I miss her so much, she was my safety zone.

The only other toy I can remember being "it" for me was hula hoops. I could do anything in one of those things during my young teen years. Walk to the mail box, run, just anything!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 6: Radio and Television

Radio and Television.

I am a product of the 60's and 70's when it came to watching television. I loved the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family. The Brady Bunch was a Friday night ritual in our house.  I loved Bobby Sherman just as much as Marcia did. Now that I am over 50 (barely) I can still be caught watching them if they happen to be on the TV when I surf by them. There, my most embarrassing secret. E V E R ! ! !

For radio, I am going to talk about old shows that I had never heard of until I was living in Germany and Armed Forces Radio was the only entertainment I had aside from my stereo that blew out Peter Frampton, Yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Bowie, Genesis and Electric Light Orchestra. I was 17 and would have considered these shows from the "olden days" and they were for me. Fibber McGee and Molly was one, the other was the Twilight Zone. I did not grow up with radio programming really. My parents listened to the Beatles and Herb Albert and the Tijuana brass. They were a hip 1960's couple.  We didn't listen to radio "shows". Rock and Roll radio stations were the rage for me. Today I have internet radio and can listen to 80's and 90's Alternative and I am a happy camper. Still I look back on those radio shows with fondness. Once I got past the oldness of them I couldn't wait until the nights they came on to sit and listen and too, it gave me a taste of life with just radios and no television. Today I can appreciate that "step back".